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Seat Back Failure During Accident Poses Risk to Children in Back Seat

Several recent lawsuits have brought a serious risk to light that consumers should be aware of: seat back failure. When rear-ended, front seats in some vehicles may fail, causing the occupant to fly backwards — and crash into whoever is sitting in the backseat.

The Danger of Seat Back Failures

According to a CBS News investigation, more than 100 people have been severely injured or killed in seat back failures since 1989, the majority of whom were children.

A Texas family recently sued Audi after a serious collision, in which the family was rear-ended. Upon impact, the driver’s seat collapsed backwards, launching the father directly into his seven-year-old son. The boy suffered permanent brain damage, partial paralysis, and partial loss of vision.

“We’re constantly told to put children in the back seat,” said the father, Jesse Rivera, Sr. “But you just don’t know that this danger is there.” The jury awarded the family with a $124.5 million verdict.

In a similar case, the driver’s seat of a Ford Escort collapsed when it was rear-ended, and sent the driver hurtling backwards into her 15-month-old son. He sustained brain damage, hearing loss, and partial facial paralysis.

Stephanie Collins, a parent whose 7-year-old daughter was killed in a seat back failure accident explained: “My child got turned into a human safety device. An airbag. She saved my life and it wasn’t supposed to be that way.”

Even though automakers have known about these failures for years, none are doing enough to ensure the safety of backseat passengers.

What are automakers doing about this design failure?

Some manufacturers, such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Volvo, have strengthened their seats well beyond the minimum federal requirements, while others deny there is even a danger.

Plus, the safety standard for vehicle seats is so low that, as CBS stated, “even a banquet chair can pass.” Low standards and poor accident reporting practices have enabled manufacturers to get away with keeping cars with this serious risk of harm on the market.

Moreover, “internal documents show carmakers and the NHTSA have known about the potential for seat back collapses for decades,” CBS reported.

Manufacturers could have spared dozens of lives had they addressed the issue earlier. It only takes roughly one dollar for a vehicle manufacturer to fix the defect, according to an engineer deposed for one of the lawsuits; many have yet to do so.

To persuade manufacturers to fix this defect, you can write to your district representative about the issue. “Your children are at risk and if you don’t write your legislator and tell him to do something about this thing, nothing is going to be done,” said Rivera, Sr. “More children are going to be hurt. And it could be your child.”

Free Consult with a Seat Back Failure Accident Lawyer in Ohio

If you were in an accident in which front seat failed, you might be entitled to damages. Our injury attorney at Bressman Law can help. Let us help you hold the negligent automaker responsible for the harm that you and your family have suffered.

By taking a stance and holding the manufacturer liable, not only can you collect compensation for and your family’s medical expenses and other losses, but you can send a clear message to automakers that this kind of neglect is unacceptable.

Call Bressman Law today to schedule a free consultation: 877-538-1116.

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